“Where do you want to go tonight?”, I asked innocently when we came back from Notre-Dame.
“The Eiffel Tower!”
Phew. No need to convince Mark, perfect.
I had a surprise for him—two tickets to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at 9:30 p.m.
I bought them online when I booked the train and hotel. We’re in Paris, it’s open, may as well. It was surprisingly easy and affordable, €32.70 for the two of us.
But I was a bit stressed out. We had to be there by 9:30 p.m. and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was it going to be busy with long queues? Apparently we had to get there twenty minutes early to go through security. I also had to show my “COVID pass,” now mandatory to access attractions, movie theatres and museums (and most likely trains, planes, bars, restaurants, and other public venues from August 9). I needed to bring our IDs, just in case. Camera, obviously. Subway cards. Shit, masks!
“What don’t you go downstairs and make yourself a hot chocolate? I’ll meet you there, just let me get ready.”
We got off at La Motte-Picquet–Grenelle at 8:15 p.m. Perfect timing. We crossed the Champ de Mars as the light was going down, getting closer and closer to the Eiffel Tower.
“How high can people go?” Mark asked.
“You’re about to find out,” I replied with a grin. “Like, right now. I have tickets… to the top.”
Just seeing Mark’s face made my day.
“This is why I was kind of rushing,” I explained. “We had to be here by 9:30 p.m. It’s all good now, let’s go!”
It wasn’t that busy after all. First, I had to show my digital COVID pass—glad I got my two shots in France, it’s a mess if you were vaccinated outside the EU right now—then we went through security, then I showed our tickets, more security, showed tickets one last time… and we were finally able to take the first elevator to the second floor.
In fact, we were already so high I didn’t realize at least it was “only” the second floor.
We queued for five minutes for a second elevator to the top.
The first level is indoor with large windows. We headed straight to the open-air floor.
It was amazing.
It’s not Paris—I’m not particularly in love with Paris the way some people are. Frankly, I know the city’s dark side too well. Paris is great if you have a lot of time and a lot of money, otherwise it’s a lot of hassle.
But I’m in love with cities, endless streets full of buildings with millions of people living very different lives that occasionally intersect in the most unlikely ways. I find it fascinating—so many stories to be told, so many viewpoints, so many experiences!
Mark and I stood there in the wind, mesmerized. We’re making memories, I suddenly realized. And it made even more sense considering the rollercoaster of the past few months.
A Chinese couple who was playing around with an old-style Polaroid camera took a picture of us, then handed it to Mark, showing him how to shake it to help it dry.
We’re both smiling on it and we look happy.
We were happy.
“This is so precious,” Mark noted. “It’s a happy memory. Mommy, don’t ever lose the pictures you’re taking tonight, okay?”
We were completely free after the multiple ticket and security checks at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower—no one rushed us out so we stayed at the top level until the sky turned dark blue and the city lit up.
Then we took the elevator down to the second floor where we enjoyed another perspective on Paris.
We ended up taking the stairs down to the bottom of the Eiffel Tower.
Best thirty bucks I’ve ever spent.
We came back to the hotel around midnight. “Isn’t it funny that the guy’s last name… you know, Gustave Eiffel, is the same as the Eiffel Tower?” Mark said, yawning.
I love kids. Well, especially mine.